Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gran Canaria Day 3: Mogan and the Elemental Sound

Part of a still active fishing fleet in the harbor of Puerto de Mogan.
The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.

Today, our guide, Bert, gave us two choices: (1) Hike 18 miles downhill from a place called Alta Vista (means high viewpoint) and back to the village with many great views and possibly a glimpse of the island of Tenerife, or (2) Be lazy slugs and come up with something else. We went with #2 (of course). Eighteen miles is okay with me,  although I don't generally enjoy anything after about 15-16 miles, but downhill for eighteen miles...not for me. So we explored some options on the west side of Gran Canaria, since we plan to spend week #2 on the more populous East Coast.  Yesterday we went to the city of Mogan, and we were told there was also a fishing port of Mogan with a nice beach and a few good restaurants. And we could get there for 4.5 Euros on the bus. SOLD!  We felt hearing a few waves crashing on to sand couldn't hurt our mental health.

One of the "canals" of Puerto de Mogan. Impossibly blue sky and water. 
This port  is a picturesque resort and active fishing village, set at the mouth of a steep-sided valley on the southwest coast of the island. It attracts many tourists either to stay or on day-visits, like us. Canals linking the marina to the fishing harbor have led to it being nicknamed "Little Venice" or the "Venice of the Canaries". I don't think they are quite there yet in resembling the wonderful city of Venice, but they ARE trying.

 Restaurants and bars fringe the marina and the beach front and there seems to be an overflow of pasty white Germans and Brits sunburning themselves on the very pretty and warm (75 degrees while its freezing in Knoxville) beach.  Who can blame them, although the 50+ year old with fat bulges in bikinis and speedos almost makes you NOT want to look at the water :) ? This is the winter European playground along with the Balerics and I know I would hop on over in the cold temperatures if I lived close by and had the means to do it.

Not exactly Venice, but an homage to it. This is actually a condo.
Paul and I started our journey here by walking about and getting the lay of the land...and a Diet Coke. Feed the addiction!  Then I asked Paul if he wanted to do something he had never done before....

The yellow submarine, Atlantica

That's right. To live in a yellow submarine...for about an hour.  I had taken my family, including my mother,  in the Virgin Islands a few years ago and we all had a blast. He agreed, but probably only because it's a Beatles song.

Paul coming down the hatch in true Navy style. He's the right height to be a submariner!
We boarded and were able to dive to about 60 feet or so. We saw plenty of fish and even a shipwreck.  They had a "fake" emergency, which I am not sure would have been allowed in the US, but the visible pilot and copilot were so bored, it was hard to accept anything was really going on. The reef here isn't very dense, but there were typical parrotfish, yellow snapper, tetras, grouper and other reef fish as well as a beautiful red starfish, some jelly fish that made me glad I wasn't swimming outside the vessel.

Plenty of sightseeing beneath the sea and on the seafloor
I think Paul really enjoyed it even though he seemed a bit skeptical to begin with!
We all live in a yellow submarine.
After an hour of doing nothing but staring at fish and such, we apparently developed an enormous appetite and went in search of something to make food porn photos of. We were in luck, because nearly all the real estate facing both the beach and the fishing port is a series of restaurants. The only problem is choosing just one. We ended up at Cafe Mogan.

The list of ice cream treats was massive and so were the serving sizes. We settled on "THE ROMANOV." Basically, strawberries and cream.

My lunch. Seared coalfish with salad and Freedom Fries.

Paul went with the pasta.
The lunch was really tasty. And filling. Causing us to need another stroll around the port.  This is not a huge place, but it is quaint and fun for a day. The weather was good enough to allow sunning and swimming, although we didn't partake. We did some shopping for small souvenirs of the island and then took another beach stroll  for  a grand total of about 6 miles, even on a non-hiking day. Then it was back to the bus for a curvaceous road trip with dramatic dropoffs with a driver who was pissed off at tourists. Yikes!  Once back in Aldea, we eventually reconnected with our very worn out hiking companions who chose the optional hike and ended up with 8 hours of walking including some having to return part of the way by taxi. And they loved that as much as we did the beach. But since we have three hiking days remaining, I didn't really have any regrets about spending a day NOT walking 18 miles downhill. I did that once from the North Kaibab trail in the Grand Canyon down to Bright Angel and seriously wondered if I would ever make it up to the South Rim the next day. And I believe I was about 15 years younger. It's not fun having limitations, but that doesn't mean there's not plenty else out there to appreciate! And the ocean always makes a lasting impression. Especially one so blue and lovely.

“I thought of you and how you love this beauty,
And walking up the long beach all alone
I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
As you and I once heard their monotone.

Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
The cold and sparkling silver of the sea --
We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me.”
Sara Teasdale

Paul's Ponderings:  We had a nice day out as described, starting off with a reasonably aggressive bus trip over to the port area; one of our co-hikers from the UK made the trip over with us....it is very hard to describe how narrow and twisted the roads are here.   Think blind corners, bus drivers blowing horns, and cars passing on blind hills....

Regardless, while our companions were hiking 18 miles in rain and such, we were sunning ourselves walking around a lovely, if touristy, port area and taking it easy.   Despite that, we walked around 6 miles today and then had a lovely dinner at a local bar/restaurant here in Aldea.  While we are pretty fit folks and love the walks, we agreed that an 18 miler would have been a pseudo killer for the rest of the week's hiking, so we are glad we stuck with the plan to see a part of the Canaries that we will likely not see again.   I would say it reminded me of  Palma, Majorca, a bit, but on a micro-scale.  

The Port of Mogan is mostly restaurants, beach, and harbor with tourist accommodations, but that's OK for a day....not sure we'd want to hang out there for a long time.   Meanwhile, we come back to find that Turkey has downed a Russian fighter jet....making our localized concerns seem trivial.   The world seems to be a much smaller place recently, more so when you are outside the US border.   To paraphrase Rodney King, wouldn't it be nice if everyone could just get along?   Life is short, experiences and friends, even short term acquaintances like the lovely folks we are sharing this trip with, are important, make the most of it.....that's our paradigm at this stage.....a warm day out in the Canaries is pretty hard to beat!

1 comment:

  1. I did the yellow submarine thing on Maui. Surprised it wasn't claustrophobic for me.